North Korea's latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has shown that Pyongyang now may be able to reach most of the continental United States, two US officials say.
The assessment, which the officials discussed on condition of anonymity, underscored the growing threat posed by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, and could add pressure on President Donald Trump's administration to respond.
North Korea said on Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an ICBM that proved its ability to strike America's mainland.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the midnight launch of the missile on Friday night and called it a "stern warning" to the US that it would not be safe from destruction if it tried to attack, the North's official KCNA news agency said.
However, two US intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday Kim wants to develop a nuclear-capable ICBM to deter any attack on his country and gain international legitimacy, not to launch an attack on the United States or its allies, which he knows would be suicidal.
The Pentagon declined to comment on the US assessment of the missile launch, even as it acknowledged that the latest test represented the longest test flight of any North Korean missile.
"The specifics of our assessment are classified for reasons I hope you understand," Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told a news briefing, acknowledging only that the missile could fly at least 5500km, the minimum range for what the Pentagon classifies as an ICBM.
Two separate US officials who discussed the latest test, which lasted about 45 minutes, told Reuters it showed greater range than the July 4 ICBM launch, which North Korea said lasted 39 minutes.